Waddle-McClure Dream Team – Part Two
If you caught part one of our exclusive summit between the Reverend and the player some refer to as the one true midfielder, you'll already know about how Chris once hit a trumpet from 90 yards and the benefits of having your Dad ref the game…
This time round, more Gazza, sausages, plus how to run a football team from a wine bar…
Exposed: You’ve both done jobs before music and footie haven’t you?
CW: I came into the game at 19. I didn’t serve an apprenticeship. I worked, so I know what it’s like to work. I know what it’s like to be on the terraces. I worked in a sausage factory…
JM: What did you do in the sausage factory?
CW: We made the seasoning. I can’t believe people eat sausages. I do as well but the stuff that goes in 'em…! They are tasty, but when you see what goes in them.
But that was a great upbringing. I played in non-league. Played with me mates. Played Sunday mornings. I used to play four games on a weekend – Saturday morning at school, Saturday afternoon for a mate’s team, Sunday morning for a pub team and Sunday afternoon for a works team.
JM: You know how they say there’s something in water for music in Sheffield? Do you think it’s the same for Newcastle and football?
CW: I think it was a production line. Me, Beardsley and Gazza came out the same era, really. But if you look at the three of us, Peter Beardsley missed the boat, didn’t get took on, went to forth division Carlisle, then to Vancouver for two years, then came back to Newcastle. Gazza came through the youth team at Newcastle United but they were gonna let him go cos he couldn’t run. But Gazza didn’t listen to anybody. So really the three who got through didn’t get coached. If we’d been coached two-touch, two-touch, one-touch, all the ability might have been pushed to one side. John Barnes too – come from Jamaica with his Dad. They weren’t coached, these guys. We might have become run-of-the-mill players who get it, give it and run. Which is the English game.
JM: So they coach the ability out of players nowadays?
CW: Everyone does the same coaching now. It’s one-two touch football if you’re a centre-half or centre-forward or winger. So on a Saturday the player gets it, gives it but then all of a sudden when they’re one on one everyone’ll be shouting to him to take the man on… Take them on? He can’t remember the last time he even dribbled!
You still play don’t you?
CW: I’ve got a game tonight!
But you should be at clubs like Sheffield Wednesday and Tottenham getting across your ideas!
CW: Well, Gazza should be working in the game. John Barnes should be working in the game. They should be involved in some part of the setup of the English football. They can show. I were on a coaching course for UEFA B. Did three quarters of it – couldn’t hack it. I was in a classroom for hours and hours writing down which crisps were best to eat for energy! I was coaching at the time. I was at Burnley and I was at Wednesday. All I wanted to learn was a bit of organisation.
JM: Do you still have any involvement with Wednesday?
CW: I go down and watch the games.
JM: What’s wierd at Hillsborough is, when you’re there you get more love than all the players who are playing there now!
CW: Well I was lucky enough to play for Wednesday in the early nineties when we did have a very good squad.
JM: Who were best player apart from yourself?
CW: Well David Hirst was a very good player but I didn’t play a lot with David because when I come to Wednesday he got injured. You’ve got to say John Sheridan was a very good player. Great passer of the ball. But there’s a lot of players – Viv Anderson did a great job first year I was at Wednesday, Carlton [Palmer] too – bit shy, but he was good at what he did. Good for the changing room. We were a team though. We used to go to Hanrahan’s once a week and have a few beers. If anybody got a bit lairy or a bit over the top, it didn’t have to be the manager’d have a word.
The players were very close. We used to talk about who we were playing. I can’t picture teams doing that today – being sat around a table. We used to have this in Hanrahans! Few beers and people would come out with what they wanted to do on Saturday. When you were sat around you’d hear this player’s left cos he doesn’t like so-and-so, or ‘he chinned him in the bar’ and you’d think “I can’t remember that?”
Is there a reality gap?
CW: It annoys you cos you couldn’t go out 48 hours before a game. But sometimes you’d go out on Thursday and you’d sit and you’d have a diet Coke or something. But then it’d be turned into six Bacardi & Cokes! Take Balliotelli. He goes into a nightclub on Thursday night? He lets a firework off a balcony? You wanna try living with Gazza for a year.
JM: Would you say Gazza was best player you ever played with?
Not the best. Best nights I’ve ever had out.
JM: Who’s best player?
CW: Well that’s tricky. I’ve played with Maradonna and Ozzie Ardilles at Tottenham. Glenn Hoddle was technically the best player I’ve ever played with. You learn off these types of players…
And that's it for now. We've got a game to get to… In our final part Chris talks about England, the future, and who really carried who in the Top of The Pops appearance…
Reverend and The Maker's album Reverend_Makers is out now. Score. Chris Waddle is part of the commentary team for BBC Radio 5 Live's coverage of Euro 2012.
Interview by Rob Barker. Photography by Shane Rounce.